KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For centuries, pilgrims have walked the "Camino de Santiago," sometimes called "The Way of Saint James" or just "The Way."
Some East Tennesseans will start that journey later this month on wheels.
Leslie King, Carly Pearson and Sharon Privett will depart Sept. 27 and return Oct. 10.
It will be the second trip for Leslie King.
"I loved the Camino. It was so eye-opening for me. People from all over the world, all ages, all walks of life, walked the same path together in unison and it was just amazing," she said.
It was so amazing that she wanted to go back.
Then she read the book: "I'll Push You," which is also a documentary.
"I'll Push You" chronicles the journey of Patrick Gray and his best friend, Justin Skeesuck. Justin could not walk the Camino because he uses a wheelchair. So Patrick said, "I'll Push You."
After their 500-mile journey, the two men asked for applications for people to join them on another walk. This one will travel the final 100 kilometers of the Camino. Leslie applied online and was selected.
"'Two tushes one pushes' began our journey Thanksgiving last year to prepare and go on an epic accessible pilgrimage," she said.
The two tushes are her friends and fellow volunteers at Catalyst Sports. That's a non-profit offering recreation for people with disabilities.
Sharon Privett lives in Chattanooga. Rheumatoid Arthritis limits her strength and mobility.
Carly Pearson was injured and paralyzed when she was a firefighter with the National Park Service. Since then she's medaled in hand-cycling races in Knoxville and across the world.
"It's the perfect time in my life to just take a step back and slow down. I am also very passionate about raising awareness for people with disabilities and accessibility and inclusion," Carly Pearson said.
Carly is an athlete who usually practices and competes on the pavement. Off-road is much more difficult. She'll need help.
"Just being able to accept the help and being able to allow others to feel good about helping," she said.
The Camino group includes 12 people in chairs and three times that number acting as pushers.
"There will be some significant elevation change through the mountains like climbing Mt. LeConte. It will take maybe three people to pull on the ups and resist on the downs." Leslie said.
That's why they're practicing with a towing system and preparing for the trip of a lifetime.
"I know the first time I felt like it was something I did for myself," Leslie said. "This time I'm going to be, I feel like, completely overwhelmed the whole time just knowing that we are providing opportunity for people that may not ever be able to go do a trip like this."
The trip is expensive not only because of international airfare but also because of the accommodations.
"What a great chance that I get to go travel and to be a part of something that could be a huge movement down the road. And now we're allowing and paving a path for people in the future to go do something incredible that they never had the opportunity to do before," Carly said.
Small villages along the way have hotels but cannot provide accessible housing for a dozen people with disabilities.
Every day a bus will take the group back and forth to an accessible hotel.
They are raising money through GoFundMe and other fundraising efforts.